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About this event

Over the last decade, current computing platforms have not progressed at a similar rate as in the years before. This lack of progress is largely due to a combination of different problems, going from silicon manufacturing issues over to actual problems with the models being used, leading to e.g. the von Neumann bottleneck. When one takes a few steps backwards and “overviews“ the situation, then it becomes clear that the current platforms have limitations. Consequently, there is the need to start developing a new computing approach, namely one that is more biologically inspired, can deal with the unreliability of components, while at the same time offers more intelligent functionalities. These new platforms are obviously aimed at overcoming the currently faced problems, but will also form a better platform for machine learning approaches. There is obviously still a long way to go before these platforms can be commercialised, but with the current technologies getting more stagnant a growing effort into combining the right knowledge and learning to deal with e.g. unreliability will be essential to ensure that the future remains bright.

Within such new developments it is obviously essential to also embrace new technologies or devices, such as the memristor that will allow for better implementation of these new ideas into real hardware. Aspects, such as the field of quantum physics, where the world as such, including electronics, is looked at from a different angle, can obviously also not be ignored, as they will be crucial in developing the technologies of and for the future.

About the speaker

Dr Wim J C Melis is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Greenwich, where he did his PGCert in Higher Education. Before that, he worked in the European Patent Office, The Hague, The Netherlands as a patent examiner and was a COE Fellow at Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.

He received his PhD in Digital Systems – Computing from Imperial College London, Department of EEE, London, UK, for a thesis entitled ‘Memory Architectures for Reconfigurable Computers’. Before which he had received an MSc (Distinction) in Analogue and Digital Integrated Circuit Design for his work entitled: ‘Implementation of image registration algorithm for watermarked data on a configurable computing platform’ from the same university. His first degree was as an industrial engineer in electronics (Option Design Technologies) from KHBO – KIHWV; Oostende; Belgium.

Dr Melis is a senior member of the IEEE, where he also serves as counsellor for the student branch at the University of Greenwich and is chair for membership development in the UK and Ireland Section. Furthermore, he is a member of HiPEAC (European Network of Excellence on High Performance and Embedded Architecture and Compilation) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research/scholarly interests: Dr Melis teaches several subjects in the area of digital electronics. His research interests are in the area of optimising the overall efficiency of a system at system level by developing cross-disciplinary solutions that go back and question basic principles. On one hand, he applies this in the context of computing where he looks at the lessons that can be learned from biological systems to design new computer hardware for intelligent systems. On the other hand, he looks at a variety of different technologies in the area of sustainable energy generation and management, with a focus around the integration of energy storage and combination of various energy types.

Sponsor – University of Greenwich


12:00 to 13:45 – lunch.
14:00 to 14:45/15:00 – lecture
14:45/15:00 to 15:30 approximately – questions and discussion

Reasons to attend

  • Heighten awareness of the inherent problems of existing computers while gaining new insights into different computing approaches.
  • Continuing Professional Development
  • CPD logo declaring this event can contribute 1 hours towards your Continuing Professional Development
  • This event can contribute towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as part of the IET’s CPD monitoring scheme.

Additional information

Delegates will have the opportunity to pre book a lunch at Savoy Place. The cost for a two course meal with wine is £16. It is ESSENTIAL to pre book lunch.

Registration information

Those wishing to attend are asked to send an e-mail by the preceding Monday, giving name(s), and requesting attendance at the lunch and lecture or just the lecture, and in the case of lunch, giving any dietary restrictions. The e-mail should be sent to both John Fuller and Tony Davies please note the triple ‘e’ in the Tony’s address, with the subject line [How can studying biological systems help to design more powerful computers? 24 February 2017 Friday Lunch and Lecture]. No acknowledgement will be sent unless specifically requested.

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